Elizabeth, Flush & The Fancy
January 8, 2020 8:16 AM   Subscribe

Celebrated for her sonnets and her long masterpiece Aurora Leigh , [Elizabeth Barrett Browning] is now perhaps best remembered in popular culture for the lines “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Elizabeth also had a powerful reserve of inner strength. Nobody could have predicted how she would turn the robbery of her beloved dog into a triumph over oppression in her life. The Dognapping of the Century by Olivia Rutigliano [from TrulyAdventurous via LitHub]
posted by chavenet (6 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Still working my way through the actual article, but if you have a chance to read Virginia Woolf's novel that she mentions, Flush, it's really worth it.
posted by Mchelly at 8:53 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't know what to do if anyone nabbed one of my goobers - even the one who hates me!
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:50 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]

I remember reading The Barretts of Wimpole Street and it's a triumphant moment when her dad wants to kill her dog, except Elizabeth took the dog with her. Didn't know it was even worse than that!
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:47 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]

For the story as told by Elizabeth Barrett to Robert Browning, start here:
E.B.B. to R.B.

Tuesday. [Post-mark, September 2, 1846.]

Here is a distress for me, dearest! I have lost my poor Flush—lost him! You were a prophet when you said ‘Take care.’

This morning Arabel and I, and he with us, went in a cab to Vere Street where we had a little business, and he followed us as usual into a shop and out of it again, and was at my heels when I stepped up into the carriage. Having turned, I said ‘Flush,’ and Arabel looked round for Flush there was no Flush! He had been caught up in that moment, from under the wheels, do you understand? and the thief must have run with him and thrown him into a bag perhaps. It was such a shock to me think of it! losing him in a moment, so! No wonder if I looked white, as Arabel said! So she began to comfort me by showing how certain it was that I should recover him for ten pounds at most, and we came home ever so drearily. Because Flush doesn't know that we can recover him, and he is in the extremest despair all this while, poor darling Flush, with his fretful fears, and pretty whims, and his fancy of being near me. All this night he will howl and lament, I know perfectly,—for I fear we shall not ransom him to-night. Henry went down for me directly to the captain of the banditti, who evidently knew all about it,—said Henry, and after a little form of consideration and enquiry, promised to let us hear something this evening, but has not come yet. In the morning perhaps he will come. Henry told him that I was resolved not to give much—but of course they will make me give what they choose—I am not going to leave Flush at their mercy, and they know that as well as I do. My poor Flush!
posted by cyanistes at 11:12 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]

What a great article, and story! Love for her dog was the catalyst for Elizabeth Barrett to find her moxie, and create the life for herself that she really wanted. And because that dog happened to be loved by one of the greatest 19th-century English writers, Flush helped create the foundation for what we know as feminism. You win by saving what you love.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:51 AM on January 8 [3 favorites]

That was a ripping yarn. I kept hoping for someone to spring on Taylor and tear him apart, or maybe hold him for ransom.
posted by pracowity at 11:54 AM on January 8 [1 favorite]

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